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Surprise: No Jobs Means No Consumer-Led Recovery

The financial elites are all worried that consumer spending isn’t increasing. Maybe they should have thought of that before they shipped all the jobs overseas. Then we wouldn’t have inflicted all that suffering on members of their own class trying to get by on three hundred thousand a year. Sample suffering:

Being a mother on her own in married suburbia requires courage. One night, Steins is invited to a cocktail party and as usual she stands alone on the doorstep of the magnificent house and rings the bell, suspended in that endless moment of waiting until the door opens and the host appears.

The latest sign of problems for consumers was the news this week from the Wall Street Journal about the increase in home foreclosures:

While foreclosure starts have slowed on the subprime loans that ignited the mortgage and banking crisis, loans extended to borrowers with good credit are deteriorating at a faster clip as falling home prices and mounting job losses weigh on more households.

Gee, there’s a surprise. People without jobs can’t pay for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. They can’t even pay their credit card debt. The WSJ tells us this:

Capital One Financial Corp. said on Monday that its 30-day delinquencies increased in July from June and its lending charge-offs — loans it doesn’t think are collectible — also climbed.

Of course, that contrasts with the reports from Citi and Bank of America, saying that the rate of delinquencies declined somewhat in the second quarter. And here, BAC, Citi and JP Morgan Chase are saying oh yes things are getting better. It doesn’t seem to have made any difference in BAC’s financial condition. Reuters reports that BAC lost $1.62 billion in the second quarter on credit card operations. The default rate is up to 13.82%, an almost unimaginable number.

As new rules restricting abuse of credit card holders start to phase in, banks are increasing their fees and interest rates. As Jon Stewart puts it: “The banks aren’t making money despite the fact their customers are broke, they’re making money because their customers are broke.”

Several years ago, we took a boat across the Bay of Naples from Sorrento to Naples. The water was beautiful and blue, and thick with plastic bags, plastic bottles, and trash of many colors the whole way across. I’m sure each jerk who threw an Orangina bottle into the Bay figured it would disappear, no problem. But it didn’t.

I’m sure every single Wall Street consultant who advised a business to outsource work to Bangalore or China thought the jobs would be replaced. I’m sure every company that sent jobs to non-union shops in the South thought those Ohio and Massachusetts jobs would be replaced. Or maybe they just didn’t care about those people they put on the street and on the dole. But the jobs didn’t come back, or if they did, they paid less for more work.

Now if the Bay of Naples were in France, there would be a boat that swept the Bay every day, and a bunch of people would have jobs running and repairing that boat. The people would have a beautiful bay to enjoy, and their lives would be better because of it.

The masters of Wall Street and their corporate clients have trashed our finances and the productive sector. Since they control Congress, there won’t be any one cleaning up their mess.

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I read a lot of books.